Artistic representations were of significant value to early Christian communities. In Christ the Miracle Worker in Early Christian Art, Lee Jefferson argues that images provided visual representations of vital religious and theological truths crucial to the faithful and projected concepts beyond the limitations of the written and spoken word. Images of Christ performing miracles or healings functioned as advertisements for Christianity and illustrated the nature of Christ. Using these images of Christ, Jefferson examines the power of art, its role in fostering devotion, and the deep connection between art and its elucidation of pivotal theological claims.
Lee Jefferson casts welcome light on the brief but pervasive popularity of Jesus the miracle-worker in early Christian art, setting it into a matrix of Christian persuasion and late Antique social, medical, and religious practice to probe the ideas that converged in these images before miraculous healing passed to the relics of the saints.
Southern Methodist University
Through early Christian art, Lee Jefferson's study gives access to an appreciation of Jesus as a bodily healer that is not available in the literary sources.
-J. Patout Burns,
In the history of art, the role of visual representation in early Christian communities remains one of the most complex and hotly debated issues. In this cogent study of the iconography of Christ as 'Miracle Worker' in the early Church, Lee Jefferson gives renewed attention to the question of art's capacity to elucidate complex theological concepts. Placing the images into their Greco-Roman cultural context, Jefferson draws on literary and visual evidence to ask: How did the earliest Christian communities conceive the person Christ? Readers from diverse backgrounds will find the ensuing discussion compelling.
The University of Melbourne
Lee Jefferson's work successfully integrates the textual and visual evidence for early Christian teaching about Jesus as healer and miracle worker. Most of all, he shows that consideration of early Christian art is a critical component of our understanding of early Christian practice and theology.